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Rio spotlights U.K. industry

Focus part of four-year U.K. arts program in Brazil

MADRID — This month’s Rio de Janeiro Film Festival will further strengthen ties between London and the Brazilian city, hosts of the 2012 and 2016 Olympics respectively, by placing a spotlight on the U.K. film industry.

The UKBrasil Season bows with the Latin American premiere of Mike Newell’s big-screen adaptation “Great Expectations,” and also features an open-air Copacabana Beach screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1926 “The Pleasure Garden,” with a new soundtrack by the U.K.’s Daniel Patrick Cohen, to be performed by the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra Youth Ensemble.

Four newly-commissioned “Olympic Shorts,” from Mike Leigh, Lynne Ramsay, Asif Kapadia and Dania Pasquini, play in the season.

Other highlights include a James Bond 50th anni trib, a retrospective of the work of Brazilian-born director Alberto Cavalcanti, who worked with John Grierson’s GPO Film Unit and Ealing Studios, and a panorama including Rufus Norris’ Cannes hit “Broken,” Sally El Hosaini’s U.K.-produced Sundance hit “My Brother the Devil,” Mike Leigh’s “Another Year” and Michael Winterbottom’s “Trishna.”

“There is a building synergy and growing relationship between London and Rio driven by the cities hosting of the Olympic games,” said festival director Ilda Santiago. “We will be looking to build on that relationship, not only in 2012 but through to the 2016 Rio Olympic games and beyond.”

The UKBrasil Season forms part of Transform, an ambitious four-year U.K. arts program in Brazil, driven by cultural org the British Council in collaboration with 25 arts orgs in Blighty and 40 in Brazil.

Transform will include other projects in music, visual and performing arts, and the creative economy.

Targeting Brazil, arguably the most accessible of BRIC countries, the U.K. is making the kind of cultural push more usually associated with France. With the Brazilian market near doubling in three years from 2008 to 2011’s Reais1.4 billion ($700 million), B.O. rewards are now significant. In 2011, nine British films bowed in Brazil to a collective $36 million gross.

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